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Bathroom Carrara vanity and shower

The Bathroom Experiment: Textured Wallpaper

Last Updated on December 7, 2011

I spend so much of my free time experimenting with my house that sometimes I fear that I won’t be able to sell it. I’m fascinated with how much a visual aspect of a room can dictate its mood. I’ve spent hours online looking at texture articles and studies about which colors inspire which moods.

The result of this research and tinkering is a red painted kitchen, a yellow wallpapered office, and a deep blue living room. While it may seem haphazard, everyone I’ve asked to spend some time in the house has remarked that after a minute, you don’t notice the constantly changing colors because they feel what I was getting at. Red is a passionate color, and makes me want to cook, yellow gives me energy and motivation to get my work done, and a deep blue relaxes me while I’m watching movies in my living room.

I had yet to experiment with my bathroom, as there really isn’t much literature out there on bathroom design for utilitarian’s. I personally don’t care how esthetically pleasing my walls or decor is, I want every square inch of that own I paid good money to own to give back in any way that it can.

Bathroom Thoughts

I start my optimization process through a great brainstorming session. I get some of my closest friends together, crack open a case of beer, and just talk. What would you want your bathroom walls to do? What exactly do you hope to accomplish in the bathroom? If you’re a bathroom reader, you might want your bathroom to feel relaxed; however if you’re a power user, just in and out in the least amount of time, maybe you want something efficient and useful.

After discussion I opted for the latter, and went about deciding how best to make my bathroom interesting, and utilitarian. The answer, it turns out, is a creative use of scent products, and wallpaper.

I got my hands on some extra bathroom scent holders from a friend. These are small rectangles of plastic that are very light, which you slide little liquid scent refills into. I have always hated having a can of air freshener on the back of the toilet, because it always falls down, and is generally ugly. Instead, these scent holders are light enough that with a solid enough application of wallpaper, I can literally wallpaper the holders into the wall permanently.

A scale test was in order; so with a piece of plywood in one hand, and some leftover wallpaper in the other, I stuck one of the holders to the wood with the paper. Over a week I changed the scent refill every single day, and the wallpaper never ripped. In fact, it looked awesome to have the scent built right into the wall; aside from being unique, it always smelled uniform in my bathroom, not poop one minute and lemons the next.

Finally, I realized that the wallpaper itself needed character. I replicated my scale model with other colors, and with this strange wallpaper sample that was lying around in my basement. Originally, the scrap seemed tacky to me since it was textured with little beads of glass and foil woven into the pattern.

Upon review however, the “tacky” fabric was the overall winner. I wish that the choice was mine, but for the sake of authenticity, this quote summarizes the final decision:

“It is a bit strange Pete, but I have never once went into someone’s bathroom and noticed the walls. If you have this on the walls combined with the built-in scents, not only is your bathroom going to be unique in its distribution of good smells, but this fabric is so unique that people are actually going to remember your bathroom.” – James

That’s all the convincing I need.


After the test, it was time to bring up the scale model to a full build. First, I secured help with another case of beer, and with some elbow grease and laughs it all went up without a hitch. Some things you should know if you wish to implement a similar strategy are:

1) It is worth the extra money to get the heavy-duty wallpaper glue. Not only will it keep the wallpaper on the wall better, but it can double as an adhesive for the back of the scent holders, giving less weight for the wallpaper to hold up.

2) Get a matching wallpaper border. After we put up the wallpaper and scents, we found that having the actual plastic mounted to the wall pulls your eye to an unnatural place on the wall. We picked up a super cheap matching wallpaper border, and added it around the ceiling as a molding, and above the baseboard. The effect is magic, now the eyes are directed up and down the wall just like they normally do. We were surprised at how unnatural it felt without it.

3) Get help. I would have never been able to accomplish the wallpapering without a friend. The plastic scent holder provides too much weight if you try to stick it up with the wallpaper in the same step. However, putting them up first doesn’t help either, since the wallpaper roll has to stick to the plastic edges anyway, it sticks at a different rate than the wall. It took 3 of us standing with our hands against the wall for 5 extra minutes to get the paper to stick to the plastic without causing bubbles.

4) Have fun, and know what you want. Many people who go into my bathroom love it; there are a select few that absolutely hate what I have done. I highly recommend you make sure you are absolutely happy with your decorating decisions before you make them. I am, and no matter whether people love or hate it, I enjoy what the project results yielded.

Most important, my goal was accomplished. I got some extra use out of my bathroom that I didn’t think I’d get; and people defiantly remember their time in my bathroom!

Pete Wise is a Content Creation Plantation and White-Hat SEO Jedi. This article was researched and written for Discount Decorating, a retailed in Missouri selling discount Wallpaper and Wallpaper Borders. If you like reading about DIY madness, follow Pete on Twitter: @MySEOHeadache

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